Let’s kick off this collection of compilations with a collection of unexpected sounds that can hardly be categorized as ‘music’. ‘Noise’ would be a more proper description. To appreciate it, it is good to know something about the Bora Scura:
“The bora is a cold, typically very dry and often gusty katabatic wind from the north-east in areas near the Adriatic Sea. The area of Ajdovščina (Slovenia), is highly exposed to strong and cold bora – its strongest gusts exceed the speed of 200 km/h. The peak frequency occurs in the cold season (November – March). Bora affects people’s everyday lives, causes damage in agriculture, traffic and destroys buildings. In the periods of extremely strong wind people are advised not to leave the buildings due to safety reasons.”
Field recordings of this extreme cold wind were recorded by Simon Šerc and previously released on his Bora Scura album in 2018. But here (as the word ‘reimagined’ already indicates) these recordings are taken to another level by different artists. They use the field recordings as their basic material to create electroacoustic soundscapes that only remotely resemble the original sound of the storm, but retain its violent nature.
Contributing artists are Paul Schütze, Mark Spibey, Daniel Menche, Sunao Inami, Neo Cymex, Max Corbacho, Alexei Borisov, Vomir, KK Null, and the original recording artist Simon Šerc.
With their collection of “violent, intense and almost otherworldly experience of pure sound and pure nature”, they demand attention to the global catastrophe of increasingly extreme weather events. The listening experience is almost as intense as the Bora Scura itself must be.
The Pop Ambient 2022 compilation may help you recover if you got too cold from the Bora Scura. Kompakt label owner Wolfgang Voigt (man of many aliases, also known as the person behind Gas) continues the tradition he started in 2001 with the yearly Pop Ambient series. So this is not only the 2022 but also the 22nd edition.
Pop Ambient focuses on the somewhat ‘lighter’ side of ambient music – on the “ever-necessary definition of beauty, of reduction, of electronic music of heavy lightness and light heaviness, of ambient’s eternal promise of a state of physical and acoustic weightlessness and Pop’s of redemption”.
It does so with contributions by Blank Gloss, Yui Odonera, Markus Guentner, Joachim Spieth, Max Würden, Triola, Thomas Fehlmann, Morgen Wurde ft. Maria Estrella, Thore Pfeiffer, Andrew Thomas, and Pepo Galán.
The 15-track, 86-minute compilation (not counting the continuous mix you also get with the download) demonstrates – to quote quite a bold statement – that “next to Soul, Ambient is probably the most effective musical healing plant of mankind”.
Harry ‘Spheruleus’ Towell started his Whitelabrecs label in 2015, as a sister label to Audio Gourmet, Tessellate, and Warehouse Decay. The first edition of the Sleep Laboratory compilation series was released in 2019, to celebrate the 50th release on the label. The second edition followed in 2020, but 2021 stayed quiet.
And now here’s the third edition of the ‘concept compilation’, once again released in January – the sleepiest month of the year.
The concept is straightforward: “each artist in the line-up takes the brief of creating ‘sleep music’ and paints the sonic field with their own ideas. Some artists develop restful electro-acoustic compositions, whilst others sketch out soothing drones or vacant ambient textures.”
Each artist in this compilation has his(/hers?) own approach to creating a ‘sleepy’ sound, but as a whole, the 75-minute 12-track album does exactly what the title suggests: it offers a perfect companion to fall asleep.
Or better: to listen while half-sleeping, because it would be a waste not to listen.
Artists involved are, among others: Stijn Hüwels, Andrew Heath, Ian Hawgood, Simon McCorry, Harry Towell & Guy Gelem, Federico Mosconi, Adrian Lane.
As usual for Whitelabrecs, the physical release is limited to 100 vinyl-effect CDRs.
Hot on the heels of Sleeplaboratory3.0 (or, to be more exact: on the very same day) Whitelabrecs releases another compilation album, but with a different concept.
For this album, Argentinian musician Mi Cosa De Resistance (Fernando Perales) invited four ambient music composers “to create two pieces or chapters each which in turn relate, just as in a book, to the previous chapter but all constructed in two halves as a palindrome”.
Mi Cosa De Resistance presents the opening and closing tracks, Prólogo and Epílogo. In between, Ciro Berenguer, Pepo Galán, Hymns57, and Andrew Heath present their first track, then another two Mi Cosa.. tracks, before the artists present their second contribution in reverse order.
The tracks are diverse but at the same time, they feel like a coherent selection of chapters, “just as in a book”. Together they tell a story that you can only complete with your own imagination.
Returning to the colder regions of the earth once again. The Unexplained Sound Group, a “global network of Aural Disorientation curated by Raffaele Pezzella (Sonologyst), continues their exploration of electronic music from all corners of the world with this compilation of music from Scandinavia.
Previous editions of this series explored electronic / experimental / exploratory / contemporary / Post Industrial / Electroacoustic music from India, China, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, Iran, Balkan Region, Africa, Middle East, Latin America … safe to say that they’re on their way to cover the whole world. It’s interesting to explore the series and focus on the differences as well as the resemblances in the music. If it demonstrates one thing, it is that music indeed is an international language.
Since the EMS (Electronic Music Studio) opened in Stockholm in 1964, the Scandinavian electronic music scene has continued to flourish decade after decade. This CD (and digital) release features a selection of tracks from earlier (digital only) releases with Scandinavian electronic music (015 and 016).
I must admit that there (for me) is not one single familiar artist name among the twelve tracks compiled here – so I guess it is not much use in copying the names here. Find out on the release page, and simply experience the adventurous feeling of exploring the unknown territories of experimental electronic music.
The Utopia Compilation is the 19th release of the Macedonian label Elan Vital, a label “releasing limited editions of handcrafted CD’s and tapes from international artists focused on obscure aspects of sound”.
“Obscure” indeed, since this is another compilation filled with the music of artists that may be familiar only to those that already follow the label – and even for those, I guess there are quite a few new names. Whalthisney was the only name vaguely familiar to me. It once again demonstrates the endless wealth and the bottomless well this where this music seems to come from. There’s always more to explore.
The 110-minute (digital-only this time) compilation is dedicated to Utopia, for “it is our utopias that make the world tolerable to us.”
Utopia is Elan Vital’s second various artist compilation, presenting “sound ranging from the deepest ambient, through experimental gems and noise, and to the lowest drone.”
Belfast-based label Extended Play (or EXTND PLY) – “a base for Irish Electronics” – is primarily known as a ‘house imprint headed up by veterans JMX & T-Bone’ (according to Discogs).
For their 85th release and their start of the 2022 release schedule, they decided to “step away from the dancefloor” with these 12 track compilation from Northern Irish artists “that encapsulate a range of moods and textures to get lost in.”
I am neither familiar with the label nor with its output: all of the artists involved here are unknown to me. Gibsun, HY LY, The Vendetta Suite, Seaplanes, The Fully Automatic Model, Timmy Stewart (label curator), Iain McCready, SPDPK, Reger, Optmst, Tabb, Matheson, This Ship Argo – the names may perhaps be familiar to followers of the label, or to the Belfast local club scene.
These “club producers turning their attention to softer atmospheres”; produce a collection of tracks filled with “blissed-out dreamscapes, early Warp records aesthetics and electronic folk experimentation.” After all, as different as they may seem, the ‘house/techno’ and ambient scene always had a close connection from the early days of the Chillout rooms. And this music would fit those chillout rooms more than perfectly.
Apart from the 12 tracks, the Extended Delay download also features a continuous mix by Timmy Stewart.
Extended Delay is scheduled for release in February; there is no advance link on the label’s site yet. So keep an eye on their Bandcamp page for further details on this upcoming release.
The Vendetta Suite – Lagan Bubbles